Group 20 rugby league
YENDA has tasted victory for the first time in four weeks after a sloppy 38-20 win over the Hay Magpies yesterday at Wade Park.
Four first-half tries from Josh Bryant, Kyle Charles, Tama Miratana and Tom Sellers gave the Blueheelers a commanding 20-6 lead at the break, but the game was up for grabs in the second stanza when George Broome was sent to the sin bin for a late hit.
Broome's dismissal left the home side a man short for 10 minutes, opening the door for the Magpies to bang on two consecutive tries and close to within six points.
But when Broome returned, Yenda straightened up and struck back through Sellars and Josh Curphey to seal a vital win.
Coach Roy Romeo was happy with the win, but still concerned with the Blueheelers' error-riddled performance, which saw just 11 of 21 sets completed in the second half.
"The first half, I couldn't fault them - their defence was brilliant," he said.
"Our structure's starting to come in place.
"But we seem to play good footy for 20 minutes and then switch off for 10.
"We're getting there slowly - it's a good comeback from getting smashed by West Wyalong two weeks ago."
Romeo paid credit to the visiting Hay side, which kept on coming all day - right to the dying seconds, when fullback Mitch Rosser scored his second try under the posts after a fortuitous bounce fell his way.
It was a mere consolation but still a sign of the team's incremental improvement over the years - in seasons gone by, the Magpies would have folded in the first half.
"They were pretty competitive," Romeo said.
"We had a chance to shut them out of the game but George got sin-binned and we kept making mistakes.
"That put them back in the game, which is discipline again. I couldn't understand why (he was sin binned), but we've got to be better.
"Still, there's a lot of positives to come out of it, so we can push on now and prepare for Leeton next week."
Along with Curphey and best-on-ground Will Hannon, the Blueheelers were also well served by Riverina representative Josh Bryant, who scored twice, while Sellars also completed a double.
"It was good to see those blokes get the reward for what they've been doing," he said.